In medieval Arabic texts the name Nubah usually designates all of the Nubian-speaking inhabitants of the Nile Valley (see NUBIANS). In classical texts, where the name appears as Noba or Nubae, it refers more specifically to a Nubian-speaking tribe or tribes who occupied the area west of the Nile in the general vicinity of the city of Meroë (see KUSH). By the fourth century these people had moved eastward across the river and had occupied much of the territory of Kush, possibly including Meroë itself. They established a kingdom of their own, ‘ALWA, with its capital at SOBA, near the site of modern Khartoum.
‘Alwa was converted to Christianity in the sixth century (see NUBIA, EVANGELIZATION OF), and thereafter remained in the Christian fold for almost a thousand years. In the Middle Ages the people of ‘Alwa (Greek and Coptic, Alodia) were referred to as Alodaei, and the name Noba ceased to refer specifically to this Nubian-speaking tribe.
- Adams, W. Y. Nubia, Corridor to Africa, pp. 424-28. Princeton, N.J., 1977.
- Arkell, A. J. A History of the Sudan, from the Earliest Times to 1821, pp. 174-85. London, 1955.
- Hintze, F. “Meroe und die Noba.” Zeitschrift für Ägyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde 94 (1967):79-86.
- Kirwan, L. P. “Tanqasi and the Noba.” Kush 5 (1957):37-41.
- MacMichael, H. A. A History of the Arabs in the Sudan, Vol. 1, pp. 35-52. London, 1922.
WILLIAM Y. ADAMS